Bochum v Arminia Bielefeld
Bochum secured their place in next season’s Bundesliga in dramatic fashion last week by coming from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in the Revierderby. And that feel-good factor should certainly rumble on when they take on Arminia Bielefeld on Friday evening in the early Bundesliga kick off.
Logic would usually suggest that relegation-threatened Bielefeld would go into this match with the incentive to pull a result out of the bag – a match that midfielder Gonzalo Castro labelled as “all or nothing” for his side this week – but there’s still very little to suggest that the away side can overturn the odds in this clash.
For example, not only have Bielefeld lost their last six away matches in the Bundesliga, but they’ve also been losing at half time and full time in each of those games. And recent, tepid draws against Hertha Berlin and Stuttgart suggest that Bielefeld and their interim head coach Marco Kostmann are all out of ideas at this point in the season.
Koln v Wolfsburg
There’s no doubt that FC Koln have the wind in their sails and are perhaps one of the most in-form teams in the German Bundesliga, ahead of their clash with Wolfsburg on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, Effzeh are second only to Bayern Munich when it comes to points won in the last six match days and could secure a spot in next season’s Europa League with a win and results going their way this weekend. However Steffen Baumgart, Koln’s understated head coach, was simply unwilling to indulge in any pats on the back just yet. “I’m counting on the fact that we want to win the next game,” growled the manager in a press conference this week. “And that’s difficult enough.”
However, behind closed doors, Baumgart will be confident that his side will be able to overcome a Wolfsburg side that have failed to win 10 of their last 11 away matches in the Bundesliga and are now comfortably beyond the threat of relegation. This feels like an easy three points for the home side.
Freiburg v Union Berlin
With a German Cup final on the horizon and the very real prospect of Champions League football within their grasp, Christian Streich’s Freiburg side remain the feel-good story of the Bundesliga season. Even news of Nico Schlotterbeck’s confirmed move to Borussia Dortmund this summer couldn’t dampen the mood, as Freiburg then responded in kind by signing Matthias Ginter from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Indeed, the Black Forest side have lost just one of their last six league games and leapfrogged RB Leipzig into fourth place last weekend with a remarkable 4-3 victory over Hoffenheim. However, what’s most intriguing about Freiburg’s exciting end to the season is the manner in which they’ve thrown caution to the wind and decided to simply outscore their opponents in each game.
For example, in their last 10 league games, Freiburg have scored 22 and conceded 15 in return. Which, in turn means the last couple of months have seen an average of 3.7 goals per game in their matches. Saturday’s opponents, Union Berlin, have seemingly followed suit with an average of 2.5 goals from their last 10 games, in which they’ve only lost three.
This should be a nail-biting clash between two sides still pushing for top spots in the Bundesliga and along the way we should see plenty of goals.
Greuther Furth v Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel invertedly summed up the mood of his teammates after last weekend’s defeat to Bochum, when he was asked about his imminent departure from the club at the end of the season. “I’m looking forward to the last game,” said the Belgium international, before correcting himself: “But I’ll also be really sad.”
Indeed, Dortmund’s season is truly ending with an almighty whimper. Marco Rose’s side not only now have three defeats from their last five games in no small part due to numerous injuries, but most of the players that are still available for selection have already begun making plans for a summer exit from the club.
Julian Brandt looks at odds with the job of creating goals, questions remain over Marco Reus’s future at the club and Erling Haaland has been checked out since the turn of the year as he prepares for a move to Manchester City. And, unfortunately for Rose and the club’s support, an unwanted trip to Greuther Furth is unlikely to stir up any emotion or incentive on Saturday.
Hoffenheim v Bayer Leverkusen
While Freiburg’s ability to throw caution to the wind has seen them propel themselves into the top four, Hoffenheim’s hopes of doing the very same thing has led to them tumbling down the league table and now facing the very real threat of no European football next season.
Indeed, Sebastian Hoeneß’s side have picked up just three wins from their last 10 league games, in no small part due to the club’s inability to defend by any means. In that period the mid-table side have scored a respectable 12 goals, but have also conceded 17 along the way too. And that’s unlikely to change when they take on Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
And that’s mostly down to the fact that Gerardo Seoane’s side have been able to welcome back some previously injured stars – most notably striker Patrik Schick – just in time to finish the league campaign in a decent run of form, with just one defeat from their last five games.
Unfortunately for Sinsheim hosts, their season seems to have come to an end a few months ahead of schedule and it’s hard to see them keeping the kind of clean sheet that would be required for taking points off Leverkusen.
Hertha Berlin v Mainz
Such has been the quick turnaround in the German capital for Hertha Berlin interim head coach Felix Magath that the club are already discussing potential head coaches to take over when the Bundesliga veteran steps aside this summer. The threat of relegation, it would seem, is now firmly in the rearview mirror.
And there’s a very good reason for that. Two vital wins over Stuttgart and Augsburg and then a point against Arminia Bielefeld last weekend now means that Hertha are four points above the relegation play-off spot and will be confirmed as a Bundesliga team for next season if results go their way this weekend. Luckily for the capital side, they shouldn’t face a tough time of it against Mainz.
That’s mostly due to the fact that Mainz remain a truly useless side on the road this season. As we’ve noted in just about every preview this season, Bo Svensson’s side have the second worst away record in the German top flight and are currently on a run of three consecutive defeats in away games. Their trip to Berlin is unlikely to change that.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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